Here is what I sent to ‘firstname.lastname@example.org‘:
To the entire Apple family and Steve’s family,
Thank you for giving us this way to write in with our memories of Steve and Apple. Steve and Apple have been part of my life since I was a boy of 11, bereaved, sad and lonely in my first year at boarding school in the UK, and I found my way into the wonderful world of computers that he and Woz opened up to us all.
I can proudly say that I have never owned a PC since, nor had one in my house. I always felt as if it would be a betrayal of Steve’s and the original Mac team’s vision, to make do with something I felt was a second-best rip-off. And like many others, I went through the long years of the mid-90s hoping and praying that that original spirit would return to Cupertino, and (oh my goodness) did it ever.
I’m now nearly 42, and it struck me this morning that at that age, Steve hadn’t yet accomplished the half of what will now always be his legacy. I know I’m not set to change the world in anywhere near the same way, but I can try to bring some of the spirit of Steve into what I do every day.
I work as a fundraiser for one of the UK’s great universities, and it’s my privilege to work with an extraordinarily committed team of young people who are our student telephone fundraising team. As far as I can I try to be a bit of a ‘mini Steve’ to them – I have the glasses, and the beard, a bit more hair (so far), and I’ve occasionally been known to wear a black turtleneck. What I try to give them, above all else, is the joy of accomplishment – of setting a goal that we all reach together, even if we think it’s mad and unattainable when we start, for something in which we passionately believe. I hope that spirit gets across into everything else they do and that they’ll take it on into all the many and varied jobs they’ll do in the world once they graduate – staying hungry and staying foolish, and doing great things.
I can only imagine how sad a time it is for you all right now, but I do have just one more thing. For me, Steve’s defining legacy is that feeling of surprised delight – when he would announce something completely unforeseeable, but suddenly totally obvious. Amidst your sadness, and your sense of things unfinished or never begun, I hope you as his closest inheritors will still be able to epitomise that spirit of his. Please, all of you, be his ‘one more thing’, in whatever way you can. Continue to make his legacy to the world one of surprised delight.
My sincerest and heartfelt condolences go to you all.
Footsteps Fund Manager
Alumni & Development Team
University of Leeds, UK